Hardy downs big-time players at Western
CHICAGO – Match-play success doesn’t come often for Nick Hardy.
In fact, his last deep run in a match-play tournament was when he was an incoming freshman in high school at the Chick Evans tournament in suburban Chicago at Steeple Chase Golf Club.
Proving that we live in a small world, he lost to fellow Chicago native and Western Amateur quarterfinalist Doug Ghim.
On Friday, Hardy cruised to two, large-margin victories at the 112th Western Amateur at The Beverly Country Club.
In the morning match, the 18-year-old won 6 and 4 against red-hot Australian Geoff Drakeford. After a quick break, he came out in the afternoon to knock off 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, Scottie Scheffler, 5 and 4.
“Today, I putted really well and that’s brought me through the day,” Hardy said. “I just kept using that momentum and kept it going.
“It’s something about knowing what I need to do against one player. That’s how I treat it rather than stroke play – focusing on the big picture.”
Hardy lost only three of the 26 holes he played Friday in the Sweet 16 and quarterfinals. The incoming Illinois freshman didn't trail in either match, unofficially going 4 under in the morning and 3 under in the afternoon.
“Every time I come out there, I just think about birdieing the first hole,” Hardy said. He did in each of his matches to jump out to the early lead.
Although he didn’t say it, Hardy implied he would like to have had another shot at Ghim. The last time they faced off, Ghim won 1 up with a birdie on the final hole.
“We were going to be freshmen just like this time,” Hardy said. “I was going up against a big guys, like high schoolers, and it was kind of a similar feel.”
After having three Illini advance to the Round of 16, Hardy isn't the only one to survive. Senior Brian Campbell knocked off Aussie Cory Crawford in 23 holes in the quarters. It tied the second-longest match in Western Am history.
Campbell will take on Xander Schauffele in the semifinals.
“It sure feels like Illinois vs. Texas here – other than Australia – but I’m taking on the Texas bracket, so it’s pretty fun,” Hardy said.
Hardy is looking forward to his semifinal match against Beau Hossler, who dispatched future Texas teammate Ghim over 19 holes.
Ghim took the loss in stride.
“Regardless of who it was, I was playing to win the whole thing. … It wasn’t meant to be, but it would have been fun to play against Nick again," said Ghim.
“It definitely feels great,” Hardy said. “I mean, it went my way today on a lot of things. I know Scottie (Scheffler) and Geoff (Drakeford) didn’t have their best days, but still to beat them, it gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”
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Western Amateur quarterfinal results
- Beau Hossler def. Doug Ghim, 19 holes
- Nick Hardy def. Scottie Scheffler, 5 and 4
- Brian Campbell def. Cory Crawford, 23 holes
- Xander Schauffele def. Hunter Stewart, 3 and 2